Taking Time for the Fundamentals

August 19, 2009


Running a business well is like riding a bike. Not because you never forget how, but because getting off to a good start does not always ensure long-term success.

speedbump150Riding a bicycle in a straight line, even pretty fast, is easy to learn, as my son discovered right away. But a couple days ago, we went for a little skills training. Instead of just riding around the block, we spent some time at a nearby cul-de-sac going really slowly and working on fundamentals. I would have him make sharp turns and maintain his balance by shifting his weight, turning the front wheel and pedaling just enough to stay up.

He thought it was kind of dumb at first, but I think he started to like it as he got the hang of it. It is empowering to realize that you are in control and feel like you can handle anything that comes your way.

It may not have been as fun or flashy as speeding down the street, but how often is the road straight for very long? How often can we get away with not making adjustments? It helps to have some skills when the inevitable speed bumps get in the way.

Are we just riding fast with our businesses or learning everything we need to be in control – at least of how we react to change? Especially with start-ups or restarts, we often feel compelled to do the things that show the most progress first – at the expense of the fundamentals. This is not a good time to lack skills.

Back to the bike lessons – after about five minutes, my son wanted us to start chasing each other around the circle and riding in opposite directions — coming as close to each other as we could without crashing.

Actually, that might be better practice for real life, after all.

Dave Fiore is the founder and CEO of davemail.



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